FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CASPIAN LAUNCHES WORLDWIDE GILLETTE BOYCOTT
Gillette faces consequences for spying on consumers
August 11, 2003
CASPIAN (Consumers Against Supermarket Privacy Invasion and Numbering)
is calling for a worldwide boycott of Gillette products
since the company failed to renounce a Gillette Mach3 "smart shelf" spy
"We have corroborated evidence that a Gillette 'smart shelf' fitted
with radio frequency identification (RFID) devices can sense when
packages are removed from a store shelf and, in response, take pictures
of consumers handling them," says CASPIAN founder and director
Katherine Albrecht. "Tracking and photographing consumers without their
knowledge and consent is unacceptable."
CASPIAN sent an open letter to Gillette VP Dick Cantwell July 21
requesting information about the smart shelf and Gillette's item-level
RFID tagging of consumer products. The group also sought assurances
that the company
would not condone the photographing and tracking of consumers anywhere
in the world.
"Since Gillette failed to renounce the photographing and tracking of
innocent shoppers, we can only conclude that they plan to continue down
this ill-advised path," says Albrecht. "We want to send a clear message
to Gillette and other companies that consumers will not tolerate being
spied on through the products they buy."
Albrecht theorizes that Gillette could face other consequences besides
loss of revenue from their actions. "Photographing adult consumers has
cost Gillette a loss of consumer goodwill. But just imagine if a
of a minor is snapped without permission. Gillette will have a
firestorm on its hands if its shelf photographs a teenage girl as she
bends down to examine Venus shaving products. Her father, his attorney
and the whole world would be knocking on CEO James Kilt's door."
A copy of the open letter, evidence of Gillette smart shelf trials
and pictures of tagged products are available at the group's new
Gillette web site: http://www.BoycottGillette.com.
Gillette is currently the leader in nearly a dozen consumer product
categories. Their products include well-known brands like Gillette
razors and shaving products, Oral-B toothbrushes, Braun appliances and
Duracell batteries. A more complete list of their products is posted at
http://www.BoycottGillette.com to help consumers avoid purchasing
Consumers Against Supermarket Privacy Invasion and
Numbering (CASPIAN) is a grass-roots consumer group fighting retail
surveillance schemes since 1999. With members in all 50 U.S. states and
more than 15 nations
across the globe, CASPIAN seeks to educate consumers about marketing
strategies that invade their privacy and to encourage privacy-conscious
shopping habits across the retail spectrum.